Between June 5 and June 10, 1967, Israel’s lightning-strike military victory reshaped the modern Middle East—its geography and the political map. In its war against four Arab armies, supported by other Muslim majority countries, the tiny Jewish state wrested the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, and reunified Jerusalem. With its success, Israel established itself as a strong power capable of taking on more established regional actors. Furthermore, it was at this point the United States began to recognize Israel’s value as a Cold War ally, balancing against the Soviet Union’s Arab partners.
Half a century later, the ground under the Middle East has shifted and the Arab-Israeli crisis is no longer the region’s defining issue. Many of the Arab states that fought Israel in 1967, or backed the war, now have shared interests with Jerusalem, not least of which is recognizing Iran as a common threat. None of this would have been possible had Israel not proven itself a strategic power fifty years ago.
On June 2, Hudson hosted a lunchtime discussion of Israel, the June 1967 War, and the challenges facing the region today. The event was moderated by Hudson Senior Fellow Lee Smith, and featured Hudson Senior Fellows Michael Doran and Hillel Fradkin, and Israeli-American journalist Liel Leibovitz.